Germany has for decades been Europe's pillar of stability, supporting the European Union through economic crises, pressures from immigration and the threat of a resurgent far-right.
But with Germany's politics now in disarray — and the future of its chancellor Angela Merkel hanging in the balance — Europe risks losing its de facto leader, resulting in a power vacuum across the continent, NBC News reported.
Europe-watchers are contemplating what protracted uncertainty in the country might mean for the E.U. and how it might fare if Merkel does not survive.
Coalition talks broke down last weekend over migration and environmental policy, and though there is now renewed hope of an agreement, Germany finds itself in unusually choppy waters. The country hasn't had a post-election minority government since World War II.